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Direct detection and measurement of wall shear stress using a filamentous bio-nanoparticle


The wall shear stress (WSS) that a moving fluid exerts on a surface affects many processes including those relating to vascular function. WSS plays an important role in normal physiology (e.g. angiogenesis) and affects the microvasculature’s primary function of molecular transport. Points of fluctuating WSS show abnormalities in a number of diseases; however, there is no established technique for measuring WSS directly in physiological systems. All current methods rely on estimates obtained from measured velocity gradients in bulk flow data. In this work, we report a nanosensor that can directly measure WSS in microfluidic chambers with sub-micron spatial resolution by using a specific type of virus, the bacteriophage M13, which has been fluorescently labeled and anchored to a surface. It is demonstrated that the nanosensor can be calibrated and adapted for biological tissue, revealing WSS in micro-domains of cells that cannot be calculated accurately from bulk flow measurements. This method lends itself to a platform applicable to many applications in biology and microfluidics.


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Correspondence to Alison Rodger.

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Lobo, D.P., Wemyss, A.M., Smith, D.J. et al. Direct detection and measurement of wall shear stress using a filamentous bio-nanoparticle. Nano Res. 8, 3307–3315 (2015).

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  • microfluidics
  • nanoparticle
  • M13 bacteriophage
  • wall shear stress
  • fluorescent microscopy